Johannesburg – Dee-jay Kriel has promised to entertain when he returns to the ring for the first time in almost two years when he takes on Thembelani Nxoshe in an eight-round catch-weight fight at ESPN Africa Boxing 24 in Sandton on Friday.
The former IBF world champion and WBC International champion will be making his debut at Africa Boxing as he plots a comeback after losing to Felix Alvarado in a IBF junior-flyweight title fight in early 2021.
It was only the second loss of his career. Having gone 10 rounds against Alvarado, who won by TKO, Kriel admitted to learning valuable lessons from the Nicaraguan pugilist.
“We’re definitely going to see a new Dee-jay,” said the 27-year-old.
“Ever since the Alvarado fight, I’m a whole different fighter, a whole different beast. I really learned from the Alvarado fight and I want to put the hurt on people now.
“That’s what he did to me and it showed me how to get respect. If I don’t get that respect when I’m in the ring, that’s the kind of hurt and pain I want to bring to my opponents. I want to show them that they have to respect me.
“So, I’m bringing a lot more to the table and to my boxing style. I have improved my arsenal. Definitely expect a new Dee-jay and I want to entertain the fans, that’s our job.”
Joburg-born Kriel moved back to SA from the US after the Alvarado fight and has since found a trainer and manager in Colin Nathan.
“Even though I haven’t been fighting, I haven’t left the gym,” he stated.
“I’ve been in the gym for the whole two years that I have been off, but we know sparring and fighting are two different things. The fight is where it counts.”
Kriel was never going to pursue another career because boxing is in his blood and his family have a rich history in the sport.
“Since I was a kid I grew up in boxing. Most of my family boxed, my grandfather, my uncles, everyone, so it was a family sport,” he disclosed.
“I didn’t do too good at other sports – boxing was my calling. I played soccer, I played rugby. I wouldn’t say I was terrible, but I was really good at boxing and a lot of people pushed me to box because of that.” | Supplied
ESPN Africa Boxing 24 Fight Card
Main event: IBF International Super Welterweight Title, 12 Rounds – Emmany Kalombo (16-1-0) v Shiva Thakran (16-3-1); Co-main: Catchweight, 8 Rounds – Deejay Kriel (16-2-1) v Thembelani Nxoshe (19-9-2); Super Middleweight, 8 Rounds: Patrick Mukala (13-2-1) v Yanga Phetani (14-4-1); Middleweight, 6 Rounds: Darrin Rossouw (6-0-0) v Jacques Tshikubu Muvud (7-1-1); Female Bantamweight, 8 Rounds: Ellen Simwaka (11-5-2) v Asandiswa Nxokwana (7-4-2); Undercard: Welterweight, 4 Rounds: Phumelelo Cele (1-1-0) v Aaron Muteba (1-0-0)